2016 has been a wild ride. Each year we go into January with new resolutions to better ourselves, yet December rolls around with us asking, “what happened?”
Despite my grand plans to minimalize my life in 2016, I found myself trying way too hard to “make things work,” further complicating matters and adding on to my stress. Minimalism isn’t just about material things; it’s about quality over quantity in all aspects of life. Control has always been an issue for me, leading to anxiety.
After several bumps along the road, a couple of moves and a few mistakes later, I’ve finally taken a deep breath and learned that I can’t control everything. All I can do is the next right thing, try my best, do the work and the rest will follow.
Easier said than done, right? Honestly, it can be.
Stop chasing people
I used to always try and fix situations, apologized when it wasn’t necessary and worried when someone didn’t respond to my texts or calls. Guess what? I’ve learned to let it go. They’ll come around if they’re meant to; if not, you’re just fine. Keep going.
This also is applicable with employment; I spent a good part of my year looking for jobs or consulting projects, but was often disappointed when it didn’t go my way. Did I come off as desperate? Was I chasing something that wasn’t even meant for me?
What’s for you will not pass you
I found an Alex and Ani bracelet with this saying, which brought life and its challenging into perspective.
“Your life is destined for greatness. Obstacles will inevitably come your way. Greet them with patience and hard work. Allow the light of fated opportunities to spill through, live in fearlessness, and remember that what’s meant for you will not pass you.”
Instead of overanalyzing every situation and trying to control things that are out of my hands, I remember the phrase and know that what is meant for me will fall into place. Although I can have hopes and dreams, some of the best gifts are ones that you least expect. That’s the beauty of life.
So what if you’re five minutes late? Living in NYC completely me through a loop; as a naturally anxious person who is always thinking ten steps ahead, that city did me no favors. I took my aggression out daily on people walking down the street, whether it was pushing through a Fifth Avenue crowd or snapping at someone who cut me in line.
Do these things really matter? No. I’m not the center of the universe, and neither are you. I clearly could have handled those stressful situations better, learned how to think differently
Watch for signs and listen to your gut
“Wise mind” is a DBT skill that, in simple terms, is the balance between logic and emotion. This could also be considered intuition. My gut told me that Boston was the right city for me; and with a bit of emotion and rationality, a voice in my mind told me to head east. I did my research, wrote out my goals, made a plan and just two weeks later, I was here.
Do you ever see the clock hit your lucky number or birthday? Maybe you find playing cards on the ground (I never fail to see 12:22– my birthday- or find “2” cards). Whatever the case, I am a firm believer that the universe is sending out signs to keep you paying attention, and on the right track.
Learning to be more mindful and to let go of stress, control and what others around you are doing can be difficult, but in the end, this is your journey. Never let anyone steal your happiness; especially if that person is you.